AT&T PARK — On the night the San Francisco Giants honored home run king Barry Bonds with a pregame ceremony, plaque unveil and highlights on the scoreboard in center field, the Miami Marlins were the team to demonstrate prodigious power.
Miami produced nine hits against Jeff Samardzija, including four extra-base knocks. In the fourth inning, Marlins first baseman Justin Bour crushed a 436-foot home run to center field reminiscent of the blasts Bonds once made a tradition at China Basin.
An inning later, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton rocketed a double off the left-field wall with a 118 mph exit velocity, according to MLB.com’s Statcast.
“[Stanton is] feeling pretty good right now, so I figured he’d be swinging,” Samardzija said. “I took advantage of it a couple of times with sliders … and then I hung a slider to him and he barely hit it out there. I think it was a slight 118 off the bat.”
The Giants failed to make the same level of contact in their 5-4 Saturday loss. While San Francisco tallied seven hits, it couldn’t quite solve Miami starter Chris O’Grady, who made his major league debut. And with two on and two outs in the ninth, right fielder Hunter Pence struck out against closer AJ Ramos to end the game.
“Early we just didn’t do much offensively,” Bruce Bochy said. “We couldn’t do much against their starter. He stayed off the barrel of the bat and we just couldn’t score off him.”
The Marlins put two runs on the board in the first inning. Second baseman Dee Gordon scored on a one-out double from center fielder Christian Yelich, and left fielder Marcell Ozuna brought home another run with an RBI single.
Bour’s long fourth-inning home run gave Miami a 3-0 lead after the Giants stranded runners in the first and second frames.
San Francisco responded with a run in the fourth inning through hits from first baseman Brandon Belt and shortstop Brandon Crawford. The duo went 3-for-7 despite facing a left-handed starter.
Belt and Crawford continued to make an impact in the sixth. Belt blooped an RBI down the left field line, and Crawford cut the deficit to 4-3 with an RBI groundout that required an acrobatic flip throw from Gordon to get the out.
Samardzija danced around a leadoff seventh-inning walk to Gordon – the first free pass he surrendered in 25.1 innings – to finish the frame without giving up an additional run. He exited with four runs allowed.
“He wasn’t quite as sharp,” Bochy said. “But he’s so competitive. … He carried us again deep into the ballgame and gave us a chance to win.”
While the Giants threatened in the final three innings, they couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities. Pinch hitter Kelby Tomlinson reached second base with one out in the seventh but was stranded by groundouts from second baseman Joe Panik and Pence.
After reliever George Kontos allowed a run in the top of the ninth via a two-out wild pitch, giving Ramos a precious insurance run, Pence struck out with runners at the corners in the bottom half.
That rendered Joe Panik’s earlier RBI single off Ramos a moot point for the Giants in their third consecutive defeat.
“[The wild pitch] came back to haunt us,” Bochy said. “Two outs and it looks like George is getting out of it, and that ball just stayed down. You don’t know what’s going to happen going into the ninth, but we can look at it now, and sure it hurt.”
— The Giants placed outfielder Austin Slater on the disabled list on Saturday with a right groin strain. He had an MRI but Bochy said he’s still waiting to hear the results.